As one travels to Asia pagodas lined with Buddha statues would be a familiar sight. You would find Buddha statues made of wood, concrete, bronze, coral and to the more elaborate gold and precious stones. Burma is such a place. Not only would Burma awe you with its majestic stupas and beautiful people, the Buddha sculptures will have you enthralled and fascinated.
The biggest reclining Buddha can be found in Mandalay and was built in 1991. The reclined position symbolizes parinirvana the death and reaching the gates of Nirvana. The head alone is 60 feet high. Stepping inside Monywa Buddha, it’s hollow interior would be like treading into some surreal distant past as one would gaze at the 9,000 smaller Buddha images and his followers. And interestingly, carved in the soles of this massive structure are 108 propitious symbols which even the least ardent of travelers would find a curiosity.
Approximately 160 km from Yangon, another mystic town and another mystic Buddha awaits you. In a small town of Kyaikpawlaw, is a Buddha with what mystics would consider a live mole in its face. Not only that, there were also several attempts to cover the mole with a gold foil but the mole would surreptitiously surface itself. The eyes would look piercingly alive. Legend also has it that the statue would float when placed on top of a body of water and that the statue could not be moved from its home.
As you move towards Shwe Myet Man Paya, 14 kms south of Pyay city, another intriguing Buddha sculpture is waiting to heighten your inquisitiveness. The face is ashen white and curiously, with a pair of eyeglasses perched on its nose. Local legend made this Buddha popular because of its supposed ability to cure diseases especially problems related to the eyes. There were several versions on how the eyeglasses came to be. It is said that it would take 9 monks to remove and clean the eyeglasses. Can you imagine just how oddly big they are?
There is one Buddha deserving special attention, it can be found in the southern part of Mandalay. Herein lies an immense Buddha made of the finest marble quality, the biggest stone Buddha in the world. It is enclosed in a unique brick sanctuary. This colossal image is 180 tons with a height of 27 feet. The figure is more than a century old and has survived the damage brought by nature and man.
The last but certainly not by far the least of the Buddhas on this list is the one found in Mandalay is the Maha Muni, the largest Buddha that is made of gold and encrusted with precious stones such as emeralds, sapphires, rubies, pearls and diamonds. This Buddha replicate was originally made of metal but has been over the years been covered by gold plates. This venerated image is flocked by both devotees and travelers alike. It is 12 feet and 7 inches in height and rests on a pedestal that places an additional 6 feet and ten inches, giving the Buddha its rightful grandiosity and splendor.